Liu Xiao Xian / China/Australia b.1963 / The way we eat 2001 / Porcelain, slip-cast / Purchased 2002 with funds from Tim Fairfax AM through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Liu Xiao Xian

Liu Xiao Xian
The way we eat 2001

Not Currently on Display

The way we eat consists of an ornate set of English Victorian flatware and a single pair of chopsticks, totalling 33 pieces, all reproduced in fine unglazed bone china. In The way we eat Liu Xiao Xian juxtaposes a set of objects that have been cast from various sized eating implements, such as soup ladles, cake servers, tablespoons, caddy spoons, game knives, cheese knives and knife and fork sets, with a pair of chopsticks.

The way we eat references the ancient Chinese proverb “less is more”, but it is not solely based on the intricacies of cultural difference and excessive material consumption, the work is also about the movement of cultural objects and the magnificence of human imagination.

Liu Xiao Xian relocated to Australia following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He developed an artistic practice following the encouragement of his brother, artist Ah Xian. Liu Xiao Xian sought to respond to the declaration of Chairman Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, who stated that ‘history is created by humans’. The artist uses historical material to construct narratives that grapple with the knowledge that history needs to be understood and represented as a complex series of events through a multitude of perspectives.